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VIBE CHECK: The House of Cannabis

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

A High-Flying Journey Through New York's Newest Weed Wonderland

As a cannabis advocate and certified nerd, my ears perked up when I heard about The House of Cannabis (THC NYC) opening in SoHo. Billed as NYC's first "Cannabis Museum", buzz about this immersive experience has been circulating for months. Last week, their PR team invited me in for a sneak peek of the brand new space. So, let's unpack my trip through THC NYC's kaleidoscopic halls and answer the question ... Does it pass the vibe check?

First off, kudos to the team for their PR game, because it's been strong. I'd been hearing whispers of this coming, epic space long before their grand opening. And the location definitely doesn't disappoint. The soaring cast-iron building on the corner of Broadway and Howard gives "Classic SoHo" vibes and makes for Instagram gold. The sweeping space, the design, and the general high-ass vibes make for plenty of trippy content moments. Absolute *chef's kiss*.

First Takes

Staff members, most of whom were men of color, greeted me with smiles and gave me an introduction to all of the space's amenities. I made particular note of the demographic make-up of the staff because, frankly, in a neighborhood where buzzy attractions chock-full of Black cultural influences often outweigh Black presence, this was a breath of fresh air.

The experience starts atop 4 flights of stairs (hope you like those legs and glutes on fire) with The Disorientation, a cinematic immersion that is best described as the visual equivalent of popping an entire pack of Listerine strips. Next, you wind through three floors of multi-sensory experiences, including an actual live grow showcasing the life-cycle of the cannabis plant.

Throughout the journey, there's plenty of big, splashy visual impact and some really cool uses of multimedia elements, but my personal favorite experience was The Forum, a video exploration of the devastating impacts the criminalization of cannabis has had on the real lives of real people. Of all of THC NYC's exhibits and experiences, this one felt the most consequential and of-the-moment.

Now, let's talk ambition: the creators here took some big, bold swings in the concept and design of the experiences, aiming for major visual impact. While not every execution hit the mark perfectly, the grand vision was evident.

One surprising standout: the gift shop! I fell in love with their well-curated little store. Stoner essentials? Yes, of course, darling. But it's actually the quite elevated (pun, truly, not intended) accessories, books, and home goods that make the shop worth a stop for me.

Spicy Takes

THC NYC is a brand new concept, so naturally, there's a bit of "building the plane as they fly" happening. Throughout my visit, I couldn't quite shake the nagging feeling I may have somehow arrived too early. The first-floor café was still under construction, as was another corner of the room hidden behind construction tarp. Across the upper floors' experiences, a few kinks need ironing out: pipes obstruct the view of an otherwise cool light installation in one space; a noisy air conditioning unit competes with the carefully crafted sound design of another. A lack of way-finding signage or contextual guidance makes it hard to fully appreciate every aspect of the space without a tour guide.

It's also worth noting that for those with sensitivities to light, the experience includes sensory light experiences that might be challenging.

Now, is THC NYC a memorable experience? ABSOLUTELY. And it's an ideal destination for a date or group outing...

But, let's talk about the M-word: museum.

In a city that plays home to institutions with names like Met and MoMA and Guggenheim, the term "museum" comes with major expectations. I'd call THC NYC far more of an experiential venue, with lots of visual and sensory interaction but less of the robust, educational content we'd typically expect from a museum in the Big Apple.

The Vibe Check

The elephant in the room is that THC NYC isn't quite a "museum" in the sense you might imagine. True cannanerds will have to wait a bit longer for the "Whitney of weed " to be a thing. But what THC NYC is, is a truly stimulating and memorable immersive experience, centering everyone's favorite plant. Whether you're a connoisseur or just canna-curious, THC NYC offers a lot for visitors to puff on (that one was intended).

So yes, THC NYC passes the vibe check. It's a high-flying journey through a world of cannabis-infused wonder, and I'm here for it. So roll up, and dive into this green-tinted dreamscape.

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